National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in Europe, with a growing international reputation for successfully delivering significant cultural, social, educational and economic impact.

Our collection is one of the most diverse in the world, an important resource historically, culturally and intellectually which we seek to share as widely as possible. Numbering over 12 million objects and built up over 200 years, this remarkable multi-disciplinary collection brings together natural sciences, decorative arts, design and fashion, world cultures, science and technology, and Scottish history and archaeology.

Through our world-class research, we aim to better understand and explore the significance of the objects in our care. We collaborate with researchers in the UK and internationally to exchange knowledge, share ideas and build context that helps us interpret our collections in a way that increases public understanding of human history and the natural environment.

Inspired by the objects in our collections and the stories they hold, we help the millions of visitors to our four museums make meaningful connections between themselves and the world. We are inclusive, developing opportunities to encourage participation and engaging with a wide range of audiences through outreach and imaginative public programming.

Our four museums are:

· The National Museum of Scotland – a spectacular building in the heart of Edinburgh combining magnificent Victorian architecture with modern architectural design. The completion in February 2019 of a 15-year, £80 million investment in the original Victorian building has created 29 award-winning galleries, vibrant new public and learning spaces and opened up the Museum to a wider range of people. The transformation has made the Museum the most visited attraction in the UK outside London, with 2.3 million visitors in 2018-19. It is a cornerstone of Scotland’s tourism offer and is estimated to generate over £103 million per annum of additional benefit to the Scottish economy, supporting over 4,504 jobs.

· The National Museum of Flight – housing the majority of our extensive aviation collection, including Scotland’s Concorde, the Museum is located on the historic former RAF station at East Fortune in East Lothian, one of the best preserved Second World War airfields in the UK. In 2016, the most recent phase of development at the Museum created dramatic new displays of our collections of military and civilian aircraft, increasing visits and engagement, and introducing a programme of engineering skills development for young people. Each year the Museum hosts a series of large events including Scotland’s National Airshow.

· The National Museum of Rural Life – comprising a contemporary exhibition building and a 140 acre working farm, the Museum’s historic farm buildings, steading and landscape are of national heritage importance. Located in East Kilbride near Glasgow, its displays explore Scotland’s rural past and farming traditions and it is home to a series of large events celebrating rural life.

· The National War Museum – housed in 18th century buildings within the walls of Edinburgh Castle, the Museum explores the Scottish experience of war and military service over the last 400 years.

Our fifth site is the National Museums Collection Centre, an internationally significant facility for collections research, conservation and scientific research laboratories, taxidermy, access and storage. It provides a focal point for cutting-edge collection-based research, interdisciplinary study, specialist training and advanced teaching, and underpins our national and international activities.

Our work reaches out across Scotland and the world. Loans and touring exhibitions help ensure our collections are shared with as many people as possible. As a national centre of excellence, we play a key role in supporting the museum community across Scotland, offering advice and support, and enhancing and developing collections expertise through training, targeted projects and partnerships.

National Museum Scotland in Numbers:

· 3.3 million visits to our museums

· 2.2 million visits to our website

· 173,000 followers on social media

· 273,000 participants in learning activities

· 66,000 visits from schools and groups

· 9,000 participants in outreach programmes

· 4,400 objects loaned to 128 venues

While we are proud of our track record of success, we are far from complacent and have ambitious plans for the future. These include:

· A £15.8 million project to build a new hangar at the National Museum of Flight, to enable us to rescue significant ‘Jet Age’ aircraft currently at risk because they are displayed outdoors, and increase engagement across the country with Scotland’s aviation heritage.

· A continuing programme of development at the National Museums Collection Centre including ambitions to create a visitor centre and, working in collaboration with City of Edinburgh Council, putting it at the heart of a partnership project to regenerate the Granton waterfront area in north Edinburgh.

· The re-thinking and renewal of the Scotland galleries at the National Museum of Scotland which are now over 20 years old.

Guided by our long-term strategy, these projects support our aims to continue to create visitor experiences across our museums which compare with the best internationally, make more effective use of our collections, and grow and diversify our audiences.


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